On Friday, October 30th, Facebook announced that it is making major changes to its real name policy. This change of heart has come after a public uproar from LGBT community, Native Americans and Advocates who think it’s life threatening to use their real names in their work.
This announcement also came in response after a number of groups including Electronic Frontier Foundation, ACLU of California and Human Rights Watch sent a joint open letter to Facebook. They indicated that Facebook’s name policy is unsettled and should be fixed.
Facebook plans to implement a process to make it possible for users to provide more information to explain their name choices. Moreover, it will soon require users who report violations on the real name rule to submit an explanation why they are flagging a particular profile in question to prevent harassment in social media network.
Facebook’s vice president of Growth, Alex Schultz replied via a letter to the protest explaining that they want to reduce the number of people who are asked to verify their name on Facebook when they start using the name people already know them by. In addition, they want make it easier for people to confirm their name if necessary. Next month, Facebook will be gathering additional feedback from the community to make sure they are on the right track.
Schultz added that although Facebook is introducing these changes to make the process smoother this doesn’t mean that Facebook is now backing away from its original policy of providing authentic name. Facebook believes that authentic naming makes it a safer place. This is because when people use their names others know them by, they are more accountable for what they say or upload thus making it difficult for them to hide an anonymous name to harass, spam or bully or scam someone else.
For now, Facebook is making two major changes. First, the social network site will now allow users to provide extra information and reasoning for using a stage name when they are confirming their accounts. Through these changes Facebook will be able understand the reasons why people can’t currently confirm their name and inform potential changes they make in the future.
Users who want to submit a complaint against stage names are recommended to submit additional details and information in their complaint. Facebook is hoping that these extra steps will be helpful to keep Facebook a hassle free place. In addition, Facebook is changing both the name confirmation process thus no longer requiring government issued Identification Card (ID) as well as submit a more active and transparent appeals process for users locked out of their accounts.
Alex Schultz added that Facebook is working on a new version reporting process that requires people to provide additional information about why they are reporting a profile. Soon, you won’t be able to troll around Facebook and spam requests because you will be required to offer up some reason as to why you are reporting someone’s profile.
Last year, this real name controversy led to an increase of interest in the rival social network, Ello, which does not have a real name policy.